Sibongakonke Mbatha of South Africa challenged by Ramadan Suliman of Sudan during the 2017 Total Zambia U-20 African Cup of Nations match between Sudan and South Africa at Heroes National Stadium, Lusaka Zambia on 05 March 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Wednesday Mar 08, 2017. 10:30
Former Bafana Bafana skipper Neil Tovey has heaped praise on the South African U20 squad after reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia.
Amajita have also reached the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup set to be staged in South Korea in May, and Tovey, who is the SAFA Technical Director was left impressed.
Thabo Senong's charges are now set to meet hosts, Junior Chipolopolo in the semi-finals on Wednesday to fight for a spot in the final.
“It’s quite a great achievement‚ not just for the Under-20 side‚ but for South African football in general‚" said Tovey.
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"This shows there is gradual development and with junior teams qualifying for major tournaments‚ that goes to show the future is really bright.
“The Under-17 boys’ team went to Chile for the World Cup two years ago‚ and now about eight players who qualified that team are in the current Under-20 squad that has booked their place in South Korea.
“This is what we mean when we talk about development.
"Just last year the Under-23 team went to the Rio Olympics‚ and to continue the natural progression of our national teams‚ Bafana Bafana must qualify for Russia 2018.”
Four teams from the continent in Zambia‚ Senegal and Guinea as well as Amajita will join 19 other countries in the FIFA tournament to make up the 24-nation event that will be spread across six cities.